„Białka is happening! Despite talks that it wouldn’t”, I heard upon welcome from one of the show’s habitués. Indeed, many people wondered whether the show would take place at all after the changes in the state studs. There were also those that outright wished the event to be cancelled. Judges were discouraged to participate (in our country we remember the letter of ECAHO’s president saying that some officials rejected to come to Poland).
But the black scenarios did not happen. There was a record number of entries – 130 horses in the catalogue, with 119 eventually shown. The competition enjoyed lovely, sunny weather, though not a scorching heat. For the first time the public had small stands at their disposal and could watch the show in better conditions than in previous years. And the faithful public did not disappoint, as always cheering on their favorites and seeing out new stars. Because Białka is one of the few events which despite being „showy” remain an extremely interesting breeding inspection. You don’t come here for the splendor, nor the prizes, but for the horses.
Are there chances for new, quality sires
Already the first class (series A of the yearling colts, 10 participants) showed that the rivalry would be fierce and even. The judges – Janice McCrea Wight (USA), Manfred Neubacher (Austria), Nikolaus Jung (Germany) and Sufian Taha (Palestine) – did not readily hand out high marks, but they also did not favor any horses, regardless of their owners or handlers. Not once during the entire show did we see 3×20 on the judges’ plaques, not even during the performance of World Champion Pustynia Kahila. Those desired by everyone „20s” appeared too rarely in the public’s opinion, but the judges tried not to harm the horses and also did not award too low marks. The „flattening” of the scores, meaning that there were small point differences between horses from the top and bottom of the class did not influence the final results. The general impression was that the best horses were the winners, regardless whether they were of state stud breeding or of private ownership – and that’s what it’s really all about.
Victorious in the A series of the yearling colts class was the chestnut El Wiktorio (Eternal – Elwiktoria/Ekstern, 91 pts), with a great body and correct legs. The excellent result of Petroniusz Frejlich’s charge was significant due to two conclusions that could be drawn from his performance. First of all El Wiktorio proved that it is possible to obtain good foals from private bred sires (Eternal comes from Głowacki Arabians in Nowa Mała Wieś), which is often questioned. „That’s what being a breeder is all about: a small herd, a breeding vision, careful selection of the best sires, humbleness, love for horses and persistence!”, wrote in Facebook comments Joanna Grootings, a merited private breeder. „A lot of hard work… This success had to come and the next ones will surely be even more spectacular. This was a good change”. And second, El Wiktorio’s success again showed the incredible genetic strength of Ekstern broodmares, which we have emphasized many times and which is still very much accurate and will be seen even more in the further part of the show. Second place in class was taken by Białka’s Elidus (HK Krystall – Elidia/Pegasus, 90.67).
The level of the rivalry visibly increased in the B series of the yearling colts class (12 horses), which translated to higher marks. The winner was Michałów’s bay Dastan (Equator – Dama Pik/Enzo), petit, but complete and full of charm. His final score was 92 pts. Second place belonged to Gall of Marwteyn (ZT Marwteyn – Gallia/Galba), bred and owned by Stanisław Sławiński, with a score 91.17. As we have found out, the colt with his good body and tail setting and most importantly beautiful head, has already changed ownership and will soon move to Egypt.
In the A series of the 2 year old colts class we saw 8 rivals and among them stars that have already had their share of promotion: the bred by Jan Dobrzyński Fuerte (Shanghai EA – Frymuszka/Ekstern), who has already won several medals for his owner, Sami Ben Saad (Saudi Arabia), and not just on European arenas, as well as Janów’s Paris (Kahil Al Shaqab – Palmeta/Ecaho), last year’s gold medalist from Białka and Janów. Fuerte, whose owner cheered on another one of his horses in Menton on the same weekend, the mare Gazalah Al Aalaya (bronze winner), presented himself wonderfully, displaying charisma and good movement. From a promising colt he has matured over a short period of time into a stallion, whose breedings will soon be sought after. He received the only „20” of the day, but he probably deserved more of the highest marks. However the final score reflected his abilities and allowed him to easily win his class, before Białka’s Milian (Lawrence El Gazal –Mila/Ararat, 91.67), who pranced around during the initial lap hinting that he is also in top form.
The B series of the 2 year old colts class (8 horses) did not have such a distinct favorite. During the group presentation attention was drawn to: the masculine, robust and resembling his sire Dong (Equator – Demeter/Wojsław), bred by Michałów Stud; the leggy, with an impressive neck and good body Petrarca (Kahil Al Shaqab – Poezja/Enzo), bred by PPH Parys; as well as Janów’s Perkun (Kahil Al Shaqab – Penta/Ecaho), handsome, but rather small, presented by a new collaborator of Janów Stud, Amaury Justin from France. Petrarca (91.83) bested Dong (91.33) mostly with better movement. Perkun placed third (90.67).
Among the four present three year olds the best was Cetulion (Kahil Al Shaqab – Cetula/El Nabila B, 91.17), bred and owned by Waldemar Bąk. The colt boasted an incredible trot with a distinct suspension phase. The elegant, good moving El Shanti (Kahil Al Shaqab – Eliwia/El Nabila B, 90.83), bred and owned by Andrzej Wójtowicz, placed second.
After watching the colt classes it was not an unfounded conclusion that in Poland the tone is still very much set by the get of Kahil Al Shaqab. Three of his sons qualified for the finals. Two other finalists are the get of Equator. In the further part of the show three more daughters of Kahil and one of Equator also made it into the finals. If we were to choose a leader among sires recently used in Poland, then 6 finalists by Kahil give him first place, before Equator and Shanghai EA (three finalists), which I note down with great pleasure.
A princess among yearling fillies
13 fillies were presented in the A series of the their yearling class. The judges evaluated the Chrcynno-bred Echo Kasjopeja (Psyche Keret – Echo Afrodyta/Piaff, 91.67) the highest, which confirmed our observations after El Wiktorio’s win: that private-bred sires, in this case Psyche Keret from Chrcynno-Palace Stud, can give just as good results as famous sires. Definitely the breeding successes are aided by quality broodmares and some luck, but the fact is: private breeders have bred sires that do justice to our breeding. Behind Echo Kasjopeja, with a score of 91.33, placed Michałow’s daughter of Emandoria by Gazal Al Shaqab, Emanolla. Surprisingly, she is chestnut with white socks. This charming, nicely moving filly is the result of breeding Michałów’s superstar to the American Vitorio TO.
Even more numerous – 14 participants – was the B series of the yearling fillies class. Victorious was the good looking both in halt and movement dark grey Platyna NA (Shanghai EA – Pantera/Ekstern, 91.5), bred and owned by Alicja Najmowicz, before Poganinka (El Omari – Pentra/Poganin, 91.17) from Michałów. However everyone was waiting for the C series of this age category – here was to perform Pianissima’s youngest daughter, Pamina by Pogrom. Her name comes from Mozart’s opera „The Magic Flute”. „As we know, Pamina is the daughter of the Queen of the Night, so her name is ideally chosen – if Pianissima was the queen, then Pamina is definitely a princess”, we wrote last year after the death of her dam. And it has to be said that Pamina proved a worthy heir to Janów’s late, much regretted superstar. A shapely head with a large, dark eye, a long, nicely set neck, unconstrained movement and charm – those are her recognizable traits. She also made a very good impression on the judges and with a score of 91.67 (type: 19.5–19–19, head and neck: 3×19, movement: 19.5–19.5–19) she easily won her class, cheered on loudly by the public. Second place was secured by the half sister to Equator, Elawira (Kahil Al Shaqab – Ekliptyka/Ekstern) from Michałów, whose final score was 90.33.
Two and three year old fillies: Michałów takes it all
In the two and three year old female classes Michałów turned out to be peerless. The stud won all the last three classes of the show, thanks to Pontia, El Larinera and finally World Champion Pustynia Kahila. Nevertheless, the A series of the 2 year old fillies (14 participants) had a high and even standard. It must also be said here that the Sunday competition was harder, because it got much hotter. Pontia (Equator – Polonica/Ekstern) qualified for the finals from first place in class (92.67), before the charming Janów-bred Adelita (Kahil Al Shaqab – Altamira/Ekstern, 92.33). So they repeated the result from last year, because both fillies as yearlings competed in the same class. But they were not the only ones to draw attention. Janów’s Petula by Kahil Al Shaqab, daughter of another Janów star, Pinga, who stirred great emotions over the last few months at various press conferences in Poland, placed third, with high marks for type, head and neck and movement (final score: 91.5). Falborek’s Estama (out of Estaka/Gazal Al Shaqab), daughter of EKS Alihandro, who triumphed in Menton on the same weekend, received a „20” for type (final score: 91.17). Białka’s Celita (Lawrence El Gazal – Cella/Ekstern, 91.17) displayed a long, beautifully set neck and justly received 3×19.5 for this trait.
The rivalry was also very even in the B series of the two year old fillies class (13 horses) right until the very end when the last participant, El Larinera (Empire – El Emeera/Ekstern), left everyone in the dust by winning with a beautiful result of 93.17, including a „20” for type and another top mark for head and neck. Indeed, she is a mare with a „kilometer” long neck, elegance and an impressive presence. There is no doubt that a splendid career lies ahead for her. The class winner from last year, El Larinera’s stablemate Foggita (El Omari – Foggia/Gazal Al Shaqab), this time had to settle for second place (92 pts). A good performance was also delivered by Janów’s Prunella (Abyad AA – Pradera/Hlayyil Ramadan), who managed to acquire one of the scarcely awarded „twenties” – for head and neck. The final score was 92, the same as Foggita’s, but with lower marks for type.
The restraint of the judges in awarding top marks affected even Pustynia Kahila (Kahil Al Shaqab – Pustynna Malwa/Ekstern) herself, who did not receive a full set of „20s” for any trait (although she got two for type and two for head and neck). Her wonderful trot was evaluated at 3×19.5 (her final score was the highest of the show: 93.33). It was evident that she had no worthy rivals among the 3 year old fillies class (11 horses). The queen of the ring marched around the arena prancing, gracefully presenting her perfectly arched neck. Pustynia Kahila has within her an elegance and pride that is the dream of every breeder. It is a true „Golden Cross”, rare even in such renowned studs as Michałów. No one had any doubts that the gold would belong to her.
But her fellow competitors also showed what they’re capable of. Michałów’s grey Galerida (Shanghai EA – Galilea/Laheeb), the show’s champion from two years ago, is still very impressive. With a score of 92.33 she placed second. Białka’s Perforia (by Vitorio TO), daughter of Perfirka by Gazal Al Shaqab, was third with a score of 91.5. Fourth in this class Psyche Diana (FA El Shawan – Pomona/Ekstern) proved once more that horses from Chrcynno can move – and they are famous for their trot not only in Poland. For that trait she received one 20, 19.5 and 19 (final score: 91.17).
All’s well that ends well
The Sunday finals took a bit longer than initially scheduled in the program. First, during the yearling colt finals, Dastan’s halter broke and he bumped into Gall of Marwteyn, who was getting ready for his presentation. As a result both horses shied away and „chose freedom”. After a while they were caught, luckily without any injuries. At first we were afraid that the handler Marek Demczuk was harmed when he tried to hold his horse but soon it turned out that he was alright, to the relief of the organizers and the public.
The next incident was due to the fact that the judging system to use was not clear in the catalogue. The disciplinary committee decided to ask the organizers of previous shows for advice, since Białka used the rules and forms from past years. The problem was eventually solved and most importantly everything went smoothly from there.
In the finals, that luckily managed to come to an end, the runaway Dastan took the gold, El Wiktorio the silver and the second runaway, Gall of Marwteyn, the bronze. Fuerte–Petrarca–Dong – that was the result of the junior stallion championship, with Cetulion and Milian as Top Fives. Fuerte moved worthy of twenties, so there were no doubts here. Pamina was honored as Yearling Gold Champion Mare, before Platyna NA and Elawira, with Emanolla and Poganinka at 4th and 5th spots. Pustynia Kahila was the undisputed winner in the junior mare championship, after which she also took the Best in Show. El Larinera took the silver and Galerida the bronze. Pontia and Foggita left Białka with the titles of Top Five.
As we can see, there was no room in the junior mare finals for non-Michałów mares. Among the yearling fillies Michałów had to yield to its rival from Janów (Pamina) and the participant born at the stud of Alicja Najmowicz. The junior stallions had two private horses (of Sami Ben Saad and PPH Parys) and a Michałów charge on the podium. The yearlings had Michałów before two private breeders, Petroniusz Frejlich (El Wiktorio) and Stanisław Sławiński (Gall of Marwteyn).
„Outstanding show, great hospitality and super quality horses you don’t see often”, commented judge Sufian Taha after the show on Facebook. And this was the general opinion of most spectators present at Białka. Hopefully the lucky stars will also shine on the upcoming Polish shows and there are quite a lot of them this season: Buksza, Radom, Janów Podlaski and the Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival in Nowe Wrońska. And many people are already thinking about the 2017 Białka show, especially since the expectations are high when you see some of this year’s foals.
The photo gallery by Ewa Imielska-Hebda